Bentwaters to stage air show

SUFFOLK: It was once home to some of the greatest aircraft that have ever graced our skies.

The residents of Ipswich would stare in awe as giant planes screamed across the skyline to and from the former RAF and USAF base at Bentwaters, near Woodbridge.

In more recent years the site – now under the name of Bentwaters Parks – has become better known for its Cold War Museum and as a location for TV and film making.

But now a whole host of impressive craft look set to return after bosses revealed plans for an inaugural air show on Sunday, June 13.

Although there have been various displays associated with open days at its popular museum this is the first time that anything of this scale has been organised.

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Aircraft already confirmed include the Red Bull Matadors, the Breitling Wingwalkers, P-51D Mustang, Miss Demeanour Hawker Hunter, “Sally B” B17 and a F86A Sabre.

Carolyn Grace will also be piloting her Spitfire ML407, which she learnt to fly in tribute to her late husband Nick, who had restored the plane before being killed in a car crash in 1988.

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The Spitfire once belonged to the 485 New Zealand squadron and flew 176 operational sorties during the Second World War.

Organisers, who have also arranged for a demonstration from a parachute display team, are promising fun for all the family.

Sarah Brown, director of Bentwaters Parks, said: “There is quite a lot to take on, but it is very exciting.

“When we had the Cold War Museum open day last year we did a bit of flying – but this is the first attempt at an air show on its own.

“We felt it was an area we should explore and try to turn into an annual event. One of the things I remember most about Bentwaters is the Air Friendship Days that the Americans used to put on.

“A lot of the organisation has been down to Carolyn Grace – she knows a lot of these people and it has been coming together fairly easily. If we didn’t have her then I think it would be a lot more difficult.

“I think there is something for everyone, not just the aircraft enthusiast. We have tried to cater for teenagers and children as well. It’s going to be a fantastic day out for people to enjoy.”

n What are your memories of RAF and USAF Bentwaters? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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